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Mercenaries in p1: Bad or Good?


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This assumes mercenaries are:  train fast, and come out at advanced rank, and come from barracks in p1. The cost depends on whether https://code.wildfiregames.com/D3665 is adopted or not, so far it seems like https://code.wildfiregames.com/D3699 will be, which I think I like as well. I think the second option is best for p1 mercs since it means you must divert some reasonable eco to metal in order to have a mercenary rush, rather than instantly spamming out a powerful army of mercs from starting resources only. 

This addition helps solve a few problems:

  1. Civ differentiation: some civs have 1 merc type available, some have 2, some have none. We would need to make sure those civs with no p1 mercs still have a good rushing option like cavalry or dogs (brit) or have some kind of defense advantage (iber).
  2. booming=turtling discussion: CS (citizen soldiers) can be beaten by an attacker who uses mercs or mercs+CS. This means it is necessary to actively protect yourself with some walls, some towers to have a successful boom if you get plan not to make a strong army yourself (no mercs or cavalry). This way, eco does not necessarily mean good defense.

I could imagine you are scouting with your starting horse and you see enemy has a barracks, so your enemy is training men, but then you see your enemy has 3-5 people mining metal and you can assume your enemy is going for mercs. This is a big UH OH, so you want to either get your own mercs or wall/tower up ASAP and hope for the best.

What are your thoughts about this?

I am thinking this would be great but metal availability/usage should be solved first, in the interest of not just this mechanic, but also for siege/ champs in late game.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

@Lion.Kanzen

This is an option indeed, but it gives me some painful AoE3 flashbacks lol. I did not like so much the heavy interaction with Gaia in that game, for treasures, trade route, hero tricks etc. 

Would the building be destroyable? could you get territory root from it? Is there one for each player? Are they defended by Gaia soldiers?

My main worry with the capturable building method is forcing the player to either go with no mercs, or dedicate for a bit. In my opinion there is also too much chance, depending on if they can find the building quickly or not. Allowing training from barracks means that player can choose eco units (CS) or mercs in varying amounts at varying times from that barracks, perhaps while still training women from cc. I think training from barracks is good because it allows players to know their options at the start of a match and formulate and adjust a plan from then on. Also,  players may want to combine different kinds of p1 aggression like building rushes, merc rushes, CS rushes, cav rushes, and not "buy into" one particular kind (even if the cost is idle time from CS to capture building). I think it adds too much randomness to the game, it is a similar reason people don't always want to play with relics.

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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Posted (edited)

@Thorfinn the Shallow Minded

It is more a gameplay feature than a historical accuracy feature. The point is to give players more lethal options in p1 that enable them to attack/beat enemy eco in more ways than just going after women. I think the feature would combine nicely with the existing ways to rush, including CS, cavalry, building, outpost. If this is implemented alongside the planned mercenary changes and nerfs to building arrows and palisades, and the reduction in rotation speed for units, then a25 could have a great variation in game progression, with each player potentially taking different feasible strategies with different amounts of defenses, mercenaries/cav for offense, and citizen soldiers/women for eco power.

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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12 minutes ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

It is more a gameplay feature than a historical accuracy feature. The point is to give players more lethal options in p1 that enable them to attack/beat enemy eco in more ways than just going after women. I think the feature would combine nicely with the existing ways to rush, including CS, cavalry, building, outpost. If this is implemented alongside the planned mercenary changes and nerfs to building arrows and palisades, and the reduction in rotation speed for units, then a25 could have a great variation in game progression, with each player potentially taking different feasible strategies with different amounts of defenses, mercenaries/cav for offense, and citizen soldiers/women for eco power.

Fair enough.  I was generally just saying that only cultures that fielded large amounts of mercenaries historically should be able to do this kind of strategy in most cases. You are very correct in that there should be interesting options for every civilisation in the early game for aggression or defence, whether that consists of mercenaries or not.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, Thorfinn the Shallow Minded said:

Fair enough.  I was generally just saying that only cultures that fielded large amounts of mercenaries historically should be able to do this kind of strategy in most cases. You are very correct in that there should be interesting options for every civilisation in the early game for aggression or defence, whether that consists of mercenaries or not.

Yea. I was thinking for example: iber should probably not have this option since they have no mercs at the other phases and already have great defense. And then also britons have dogs and skirm cav combo, which are themselves a unique kind of rush.

 

 

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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8 minutes ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

Yea. I was thinking for example: iber should probably not have this option since they have no mercs at the other phases and already have great defense. And then also britons have dogs and skirm cav combo, which are themselves a unique kind of rush.

 

 

@chrstgtr@Palaiologos@Dizaka@faction02 @ValihrAnt @borg-

do you think this would be broken/frustrating or fun/varied? Also do you agree that it would help with booming=turtling and civ differentiation?

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Lion.Kanzen said:

for the same reason, which has no historical basis, it said that it is better to implement it after capturing a mercenary camp (neutral entity).

Does each player get one that is close to their base to capture? or can a player find one and then get a sudden luck-based power spike?

What are the main benefits to the gameplay of making mercenaries trainable from gaia buildings which can be captured?

I don't see any problems with this as a separate game modification like relics, but I don't think I would like it as a standard feature.

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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2 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

What are the main benefits to the gameplay of making mercenaries trainable from gaia buildings which can be captured

first of all you would have exotic units, such as archers, camels, which the other factions do not have.

 

Units of each region.

 

You would have advantages of using mercenaries, which allow you to create a balance, suddenly the Romans will have eastern archers.

In modifications it already exists. Delenda Est for example.

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4 minutes ago, Lion.Kanzen said:

The advantage is that they would not be standard unlike your suggestion.

Ok, the way you say it. It certainly does make sense as an optional extra add on for gameplay, like regicide or relics. The main thing I set out to discuss was whether mercs, balanced as they are in a25, could be available in varying amounts of selection in p1 in the barracks for civs that have mercs. And also whether this would help or hurt the general gameplay in p1.

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First I would like to share my view of capturable mercenary camps: In 1v1, there are two options. The first is that both players get access to different mercenary camps with different mercenaries, which seems unfair. If players have different civilizations and get the same mercenary camps with the same mercenaries, it is also unfair. In the second case it is because if both players get the same mercenaries, one civilization might get mercenaries that his civilization all ready has or does not have any use for, while the other might have great benefit of the type of mercenaries provided. This problem is exaggerated by mounted archers being imbalanced in p1 (especially if they are affected by archery tradition). I am thus not a big fan of capturable mercenary camps, but if it is optional there are no problems.

I would like to ① make aggressive play more rewarding, also I would like to ② make going to p2 more rewarding. Moving mercenaries to p1 does not align well with ②. I think there are solution to making aggressive play more rewarding without moving mercenaries to p1. Also I would like to add that in current 1v1 balance it can be useful to make 2 or 3 extra cavalry super early and try to find exposed women before your opponent mass trains citizen soldiers. Similarly, I think advanced rank mercenaries are powerful, but it is mainly the lack of metal availability and the expense of expertise in war that stops them from being competitive. So I don´t think we are far away from a good balance, these strategies just need a tiny little extra.

I would prefer a solution of the type that gives p2 good options to be aggressive. Good p2 mercenary balance would be a useful tool for that, so I would prefer to use our improved mercenary balance to enhance p2.

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I think merc P1 / P2 strategies are interesting civ "diversifiers" for Carthage/Ptolemies.  Specifically, it makes civs more unique in what they offer and diverse gameplay.  If people want "balanced 1vs1" they should be both playing the same civs.

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8 minutes ago, Dizaka said:

If people want "balanced 1vs1" they should be both playing the same civs.

I think each civ should have it strengths in 1v1s and each civ should have a strategy they excel in. There always will be civs that a considered better than others, but each one should have its charms and a fair chance.

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Right, but for some civs you end up with bad stuff like Ptolemies getting their "no wood cost" dynamic taken away, etc.  Now it is a reduced wood cost and the civ plays completely different (still strong though).

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LetswaveaBook said:

I think each civ should have it strengths in 1v1s and each civ should have a strategy they excel in. There always will be civs that a considered better than others, but each one should have its charms and a fair chance.

Hmm, I see. Perhaps after p1 the civs with mercs go from being able to train only 1 type or 2 types to being able to train their whole selection of mercs?

I think archery tradition should be moved to p3 anyway.

Along with the inclusion of p2 champs for another, potentially overlapping batch of civs, this could make p2 more interesting and less formulated as a way to go p3 fastest. 

@Dizaka@LetswaveaBookDo we agree that capturable buildings for mercs are a little too random to be put in the general game, but could be an add on feature in game setup?

Also @LetswaveaBook do you have issues with limited merc options from barracks in p1? or were you just saying they should be more diverse in p2?

1 hour ago, LetswaveaBook said:

Moving mercenaries to p1 does not align well with ②( reward p2).

Remember, most civs with p1 mercs would only have the 1 merc option, maybe 1 or 2 civs have 2 options. It would not be moving all merc options for each civ to p1. Also, p2 champs will probably, hopefully return for some civs in a25 (I have heard positivity feeling about this).

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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2 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

Do we agree that capturable buildings for mercs are a little too random to be put in the general game, but could be an add on feature in game setup?

That is at least which I would say.

 

2 hours ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

do you have issues with limited merc options from barracks in p1? or were you just saying they should be more diverse in p2?

I don´t see any reason for a particular mercenary to be trainable in p1. If you could name a concrete example I could give my thoughts on it, but if you don´t specify (give the type of mercenary, its stats and its costs) the proposal, it will be impossible to discuss it in detail. We need to keep in mind that giving players an extra option is only impactful if there is good incentive to go for that option, on the other hand I would prefer to restrict the real goodies to p2. Those are two conflicting desires and without knowing the details, it is impossible to judge these desires against each other.

Also I feel like if you are able to use the 300 starting metal for your rush, then your rush would be to difficult to stop if your opponent does not have access to his own mercenaries (especially if the rusher gets a free healer). Also we need to consider if mercenaries in p1 deliver continuous action to p1 or whether they  just cause you to spend 300 metal at the start. I suspect it will only cause some action at the start where you spend 300 metal for mercenaries and after that do not bother with making more of them.

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5 minutes ago, LetswaveaBook said:

I don´t see any reason for a particular mercenary to be trainable in p1. If you could name a concrete example I could give my thoughts on it, but if you don´t specify (give the type of mercenary, its stats and its costs) the proposal, it will be impossible to discuss it in detail. We need to keep in mind that giving players an extra option is only impactful if there is good incentive to go for that option, on the other hand I would prefer to restrict the real goodies to p2. Those are two conflicting desires and without knowing the details, it is impossible to judge these desires against each other.

Also I feel like if you are able to use the 300 starting metal for your rush, then your rush would be to difficult to stop if your opponent does not have access to his own mercenaries (especially if the rusher gets a free healer). Also we need to consider if mercenaries in p1 deliver continuous action to p1 or whether they  just cause you to spend 300 metal at the start. I suspect it will only cause some action at the start where you spend 300 metal for mercenaries and after that do not bother with making more of them.

Example: Ptol skirmisher mercenaries are a good example. starting metal is a good issue and I am glad you brought it up.

300 metal spam is definitely a problem, considering this would enable 5 mercs to be made as soon as one finishes a barracks. I think it would be reasonable to have a 200 food 100 wood 100 metal (maybe changed to same cost as fertility festival) upgrade at barrack called "diplomacy" that enables mercenaries for the rest of the game, but in p1(as we discussed before) only certain mercs are available (1 or 2) not the whole selection. I think this could make it economically too awkward (need to afford barracks + 'diplomacy'+ miners to get metal+regular food/wood eco) to start a game by making a barracks within 40 seconds and instantly training as many mercs as possible, but that way it could remain an outlandish and usually unsuccessful strategy. A standard merc rush should not be seen before minutes 3-4 which is pretty reasonable from a rush standpoint and a spam standpoint, this is enough time for players to choose their plan and not be overwhelmed by mercs.

The benefits of "diplomacy" tech to this mechanic would be that you will have great challenges to do a merc rush with only starting res.

Because of the metal and food and wood cost of the tech:

  1. A 300 metal spam rush is turned into 30 seconds later and 200 metal spam merc rush due to the metal cost of tech
  2. an opportunity cost of food and wood (not enough wood for houses and men after buying barracks and upgrade, not enough food for usual rate of women production).
  3. Ideally there would be enough starting metal to help a merc rush, but only significant if there is enough eco to provide the extra metal, which can only come after producing a certain number of CS and women.
  4. greater inability to get eco upgrades

I think this would prevent spam at the start and also make the merc rush a more nuanced mechanic rather than a gimmick at the beginning of the game like you said.

Tell me what you think. :D

@Dizaka what do you think of the upgrade timing/cost/research location

 

 

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Lion.Kanzen said:

in fact this is a problem that the game has.

phase 1 is so fast and so good that you quickly get to phase 2 as if nothing happened.

From the (a24) games I have seen/played people usually linger in p1 until they are between 8:30 and 11 minutes. About a minute longer than it was in a23. P2 usually comes when food/wood production is fast enough to shrug off the 500 food 500 wood cost of p2.

My thinking is that earlier (3-6 minute) merc rushes could be done using 5-10 mercs (changing back to eco after this rush would be a bit like a dark age rush to eco transition from AoE2). Later rushes (like 6-9 minutes) would be on a range between harassment and full attack and on a range of merc investments (are you full mercs or only 20% mercs?).

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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44 minutes ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

The benefits of "diplomacy" tech to this mechanic would be that you will have great challenges to do a merc rush with only starting res.

If I may do a suggestion, such a tech might also allow military colonies, Carthagian embassies, temples to heal your wounded units, blacksmiths, a market to trade some extra metal, melee citizen cavalry and some extra upgrades. It would be good that after this tech you could train mercenaries very fast, like in 4 seconds and overwhelm an unsuspecting opponent.

If we only could think of a name and cost for such a tech...

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